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Two UTM Skyhawk football players accused of assault
University of Tennessee at Martin freshman Tyler Turner left the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house Thursday night, walked into the parking lot and headed to his pickup truck.
En route, several men in black ski masks allegedly attacked him, punching and kicking him in the head, “beating his face into the hood of a car and dragging him down the side of his truck leaving blood running off the hood of his truck and bloody hand prints running down the side of it” according to a letter from his mother Kim Turner.
She said several people witnessed the attack and she wants justice in what she is describing as a hate crime.
Three men have been issued criminal summons for the crime and are scheduled to appear in Weakley County General Sessions Court on April 15th. Dontrell J. Miller and Willie L. Blount were cited on assault charges on Friday afternoon. Roren D. Thomas was arrested for criminal responsibility for conduct of another.
Miller and Thomas are members of the 2008 UT Martin Skyhawks football team.
“We are still reviewing all details. The university will give a statement as soon as everything has been reviewed.” Dr. Margaret Toston, UT Martin vice chancellor for student affairs, said
It is believed the incident was retribution for an altercation that allegedly happened Wednesday night when a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha brothers and a football player got into an verbal disagreement, according to Kim Turner.
“The attackers do not personally know my son, they were directing their attack against the fraternity brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha as a group due to a confrontation that occurred the night before between one of the brothers and another UTM football player,” Kim Turner said in her written statement to the media.
“Ty was the victim of a malicious, premeditated assault in a dark parking lot just feet away from the UTM campus,” his mother reported.
“He was a victim of circumstance. Ty was just the unlucky Pike that walked out in a dark parking lot. It was not my son who was the target. It was the fraternity brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha.”
According to the incident report from the Martin Police Department, all three men confessed to their part in the alleged ambush after being read their Miranda rights on Friday afternoon.
The report goes on to say that Justin Burlison, Mary Katherine Hill and Amanda Griffin “witnessed the events that transpired,” citing “multiple males wearing black ski masks on their faces were kicking Mr. Turner when they arrived at the Pike House parking lot.”
Turner was treated and released from Volunteer Community Hospital with a concussion and abrasions to his head.
His mother said in an interview with The Press Monday morning that her son had no fractures but would be getting a dental exam Monday and the physicians would be examining damage to his left eye.
“I’m just so glad that the witnesses were brave enough to respond,” she added.
Kim Turner says she is not going to let those people who were bystanders to her son’s beating off the hook either, “I’m not going to be happy until the accessories are off the campus.”
“Until the student conduct officer has completed her report, there will be no comment from the athletics department concerning the discipline of any student-athletes involved in this incident,” Phil Dane, UT Martin director of intercollegiate athletics, said in a written statement issued late Monday afternoon.
“In the meantime, I am pledging to our fans and the general public that we will take lessons from every aspect of this incident and enhance our efforts toward good citizenship. The vast majority of our student-athletes represent our program respectfully in every aspect of their conduct, and we regret that this incident occurred.”
Miller and Thomas are both starters on the UT Martin Skyhawks football team last season and are expected to return to contribute to the team this year. Miller, a junior defensive back, was named to the Associated Press’ Football Championship Subdivision All American team in December 2008.
By: Tracy Sharp, Managing Editor